Measles outbreak in Washington state spurs warning from BC Centre for Disease Control

State of emergency declared by Washington state governor

The BC Centre for Disease Control has issued a warning to British Columbians after an outbreak of measles in Washington state led its governor to declare a state of emergency Friday.

There have been 32 confirmed cases in the state in January, according to Washington State Department of Health. The number and close proximity to B.C. has the provincial health authority urging B.C. residents to ensure their vaccinations are up-to-date.

Measles is highly infectious and spreads through the air by coughing and sneezing, as well as respiratory secretions. Measles symptoms include fever, cough, runny nose and red eyes, followed a few days later by a rash that starts on the face and spreads to the chest. It is important to note people with measles can infect others prior to the onset of symptoms like fever and rash.

The best protection against measles is vaccination, says BCCDC.

RELATED: Fraser Health warning of possible measles exposure on BC Ferries

Travellers to the affected communities are at risk of exposure to measles. British Columbia typically experiences a few cases of measles each year, usually among under-vaccinated travellers returning from parts of the world where measles is still common.

In 2018, six cases of measles were reported among BC residents with two cases acquired during travel out of Canada and four acquired from imported cases.

The last large outbreaks of measles in B.C. were in 2014 and 2010.

RELATED: Measles warning issued for Vancouver music festival, restaurant, other locations

To date, no cases have been reported in B.C. related to the current Washington state outbreak.

The measles vaccine is available as a combined measles, mumps and rubella (MMR) vaccine, and is available from your local health unit, family doctor, and many pharmacists.

Most people are immune to measles because they’ve had two doses of the measles, mumps, rubella vaccine or had the illness in the past. However, the health authority warns that individuals born between 1970 and 1994 or who grew up outside of British Columbia may have received only one dose and would require a second.

To find a public health unit anywhere in the province, see the site finder on ImmunizeBC.ca.


 

keri.coles@blackpress.ca

Follow us on Instagram
Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

PHOTOS: Hundreds celebrate Year of the Rat in Victoria’s Chinatown

Lion dancers and kung fu demonstrations on display

UPDATE: James Bay wolf spotted again by Victoria PD Sunday afternoon

Police warn public to bring kids and pets inside as a caution

Camosun student shares story of overcoming struggles to inspire others

Provincial Tuition Waiver Program helps former youths in care attend post-secondary institutions

Officials reaching out to those in contact with Canada’s first coronavirus patient

The illness has sickened at least 1,975 people and killed 56 in China

Canada’s basketball community mourns Kobe Bryant after helicopter crash

Bryant was an 18-time NBA all-star who won five championships

‘Devastated’: Fans, celebrities remember Kobe Bryant after his death

Bryant played all of his 20-year career with the NBA with the Los Angeles Lakers

Investigation launched after six dead puppies dumped in Richmond hotel parking lot

RAPS reminds people they can always give up puppies they can’t take care of

Canadian Lunar New Year celebrations dampened by coronavirus worries

But Health Minister Patty Hajdu said today that the risk of infection is low

B.C. VIEWS: New coronavirus outbreak an important reminder

Walking the line between cautious and alarmist

Kobe Bryant, daughter killed in California helicopter crash

Bryant entered the NBA draft straight out of high school in 1996

Risk of coronavirus low in B.C. as first case emerges in Toronto: officials

There have been no confirmed cases of the virus in B.C.

Most Read